Throughout this past year, we’ve been kicking FGM out of Kenya!
This is the number of girls and women directly affected by our focus group discussions, community activities and edutainment
Estimated girls & women affected
This is the estimated number of community members indirectly affected by this project.
Estimated community members affected
One year ago, you made the most noble decision to support our Halt FGM (Female Genital Mutilation) program. The program built on the achievements of the first phase that we already reported on. Some of the main activities of the second phase included the publication of a community study, hosting all-inclusive focus group discussions, training media practitioners and owners, and documenting best practices and lessons learned. We remained consistent with the original commitment of retaining the project as a participatory grassroots initiative and utilized the expertise and tools relevant to the target community. The project strived to cause change through traditionally delicate, human rights-based approaches, to stimulate the collective rejection of female genital mutilation in Kajiado County. Thanks to your support, we were able to achieve a 42% knowledge increase and understanding around female genital mutilation eradication and prevention, as well as public support at the community level. Men and boys were targeted, mobilized, and empowered. We insist that there is a need to develop more long-term interventions targeting males in the eradication of female gential mutilation in Kajiado County.
”The cut my grandmother, mother, my aunties and sisters, but I now know the effects of this evil practice to girls and women in general and I will never stand aside and watch it happen again. I am going to tell all my friends in my age-set that we should marry girls who are not cut. This we will do!” - Nkaisari Otutai, Maasai Warrior, Kajiado County
Risks and challenges
- Conservative customs and traditions
- Resistance from girls and women being affected by female genital mutilation
- Lack of law enforcement in the county
- Perennial inter-ethnic hostilities
What we’ve learned
As revealed in the community study, men, boys and communities as a whole play a leading role in the eradication of female genital mutilation. There is a need for continuation of a deliberate attempt to work with men and boys towards fostering a community in which girls and women live healthier lives devoid of the torture and depravity associated with female genital mutilation. The undertakings must be premised on the fact that men and boys play a leading role in the sustenance of pervasive and destructive cultural practices including the dehumanizing female genital mutilation.
Amount spent so far
Traditional music and dance groups
peer interaction session
venue food transport
The Halt FGM Project
"If I knew the dangers of FGM as I now do, I would have not allowed my six daughters to undergo the practice."
-Kipendi Mugendi, Kajiado resident
The Emuratare project which works with men and boys towards the eradication of female genital mutilation in Kajiado County has so far achieved four key milestones:
- The project has resulted in a comprehensive community assessment report depicting perceptions and attitudes towards FGM among men and boys in Kajiado County. The ground breaking work will greatly influence programming around FGM in the County as well as the country as a whole.
- The levels of understanding about FGM among journalists in Maasai language radio stations and other conventional media channels has been raised and more objective discussions about FGM are beginning to emerge.
- There is now more willingness from Maasai men and boys to engage in conversations about FGM even though substantial determination to retain the practice still exists as unveiled by the study.
- There is marked enthusiasm among school-going children and youth to participate in the speak out initiative; hence, more documented evidence about FGM.
Risks and challenges
- Rigid traditions and customs: It remains a challenge to objectively engage conservative members of the Maasai community on issues relating to FGM.
- Logistics: At the time of reporting, IEC materials including posters, fact-sheets and Maasai Kanga’s have not been received.
- Limited institutionalized programs for perpetrators or their sympathizers, many who continue to carry on with the vice undeterred.
- Collaboration between various FGM stakeholders is not common practice in Kajiado County.
To achieve any substantial knowledge increase and understanding around FGM eradication/ prevention as well as public support at the community level, men and boys have to be targeted, mobilized and empowered. There is need to develop more long-term interventions targeting men and boys in the eradication of FGM in Kajiado County.
The practice of female genital mutilation has been marginalized as a cultural issue yet it remains one of the worst violations of human rights for women and girls among the Maasai. It is a practice that has been driven underground as a result of the deliberate alienation of men and boys in FGM programming. Men, boys and communities in general play a key role in the eradication of FGM in Kajiado County and more efforts need to be dedicated at working with the clusters. It’s possible to prompt attitude and perception change through culturally sensitive, human rights-based approach that promotes collective abandonment of FGM away from the current approach where FGM is basically addressed as a girls and women’s issue.
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Focus Group Meetings
Traditional music and dance groups
Peer interaction session
The project is a grassroots initiative that is participatory in nature and utilizes the expertise and tools that are respected by the target community. The project endeavors to spur change through a culturally sensitive, human rights-based approach that promotes collective abandonment of the practice.
Efforts to end female genital mutilation (FGM) must include educating and enlightening all members of society, including men and boys.
Why we care: FGM violates girls and women’s human rights, denying them their physical and mental integrity, their right to freedom from violence and discrimination, and, in some cases, their lives.
How we're solving this: Coexist Initiative will educate and enlighten members of Kajiado County, Kenya, by working with target groups, creating media campaigns, and creating printed materials.
Female genital mutilation has no known health benefits yet it remains a deeply entrenched practice. Although it has been outlawed in Kenya, it persists in secrecy. The practice has been driven underground, encouraging families to discreetly force their daughters to undergo the practice. In a recent survey conducted by Coexist Initiative, 91% of the respondents affirmed that they support the practice. Efforts to end FGM must include educating and enlightening all members of society to understand FGM for the harmful and destructive practice it is.
In Kajiado County, Kenya, community members will participate in the project to artistically express and illustrate their fears, attitudes, ideas, experiences and encounters with the prevention and eradication of gender based violence. This will be done through art, poems, cartoons, drama and dance. Materials (see below) will also be created to raise awareness about FGM and why it must be eradicated. Coexist Initiative will also work with community level media outlets, especially radio stations, to talk about FGM. These outlets will provide information, highlight the plight of survivors and rally support towards the eradication of the same. Of the 10,000 community members that will be reached, Coexist Initiative will conduct 10 focus group discussions with 10 male participants each, men and boys, to assess behavior change throughout this project.
Materials being produced
- 2,000 Handbills
- 2,000 Brochures
- 500 Posters
- 2 Banners
- 2,000 Flyers
- 400 Kangas
- 10% involvement of men in anti-FGM activities in the target region
- 15% increased community awareness about the negative social and health consequences of the FGM
- Established community based safety networks managed by men and boys to result in enhanced security for girls at both the community and family level increased by 15%
- Media practitioners levels of awareness about FGM raised and their capacities to objectively cover FGM